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Int J Med Microbiol. 2004 Sep;294(2-3):157-68.

Mosaic genes and mosaic chromosomes-genomic variation in Streptococcus pneumoniae.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Kaiserslautern, Paul-Ehrlich-Strasse 23, 67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany.


The genome sequences of two strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae, one of the major human pathogens, are currently available: that of the nonencapsulated laboratory strain R6, the origin of which dates back to the early 20th century, and of the serotype 4 TIGR strain isolated recently. The two genomes are not only different in size (2 versus 2.16 Mb) but differ also by approximately 10% of their genes, many of which being organized in large clusters. Their strain-specific genes and gene clusters are described here. The R6 genome contains 69 kb organized in six large regions that are absent from the TIGR strain, which in turn contains an extra 157kb in twelve clusters compared to R6. In addition, the TIGR strain contains 13 clusters of 4 kb and larger that are not shared by a variety of genetically different S. pneumoniae strains. Many regions bear signs of gene transfer events such as the presence of insertion sequences, transposable elements, and putative site-specific integrases/recombinases. Three strain-specific regions are devoted to genes encoding proteins with the cell wall anchor motif LPXTG which are important for the interaction with host cells and appear to be highly variable, similar to cell wall-associated choline-binding proteins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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